Hawthorne: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Young Goodman Brown Essay

Submitted By hayleyremis
Words: 591
Pages: 3

Andrea Hart
ENG 112
5/3/12

Hawthorne’s Connections to “Young Goodman Brown”

Although Nathaniel Hawthorne and the character he created, Young Goodman Brown, are two completely different people they also share a lot in common as well. Both men go on spiritual life journeys along with conflict and love that change their lives forever. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born and raised in Salem Massachusetts, this is a common setting for many of Hawthorne’s stories such as the story of “Young Goodman Brown.” Nathaniel was by far one of the greatest American writers of the nineteenth century. Hawthorne witnessed the Salem Witch trials at which Hawthorne’s Great Grandfather, John Hathorne, was a judge. Young Goodman Brown also witnessed the witch trials along his travel in the woods. Goody Cloyse, a character in “Young Goodman Brown”, was an actual real woman who was convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692, and Hawthorne uses her in his story to secretly attend witch ceremonies in the middle of the forest. Both of these men were Puritans and they struggled with their beliefs in that aspect. Just like the men that executed the alleged witches of Salem, Goodman Brown is confused and searching to find out if his own experience in the forest was real or just a dream. Goodman Brown’s experience in the forest could be a possible example of the persecutors of Salem, both left with no evidence of what may have really happened. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s background is one of strict Puritanism and he expressed his knowledge of this in his stories and novels. Young Goodman Brown was a Puritan, he sought a true conversion experience whether the meeting that he experienced in the forest was reality or not. The point that Hawthorne was trying to make was that Puritanism made their followers believe that one could not trust anyone, just as the men turned on their accused wives during the Salem witch trials, and just as Young Goodman Brown lost himself, he lost his spiritual faith and also his wife Faith, because of something that may not have happened at all. Hawthorne had much knowledge of the background of Puritanism combined with his own personal experiences in his early life and family history…